The government of Cuba claims that the array of inexplicable health problems experienced earlier this year by U.S. Embassy employees stationed on the island were triggered not by “sonic attacks,” but rather by the sounds of loud crickets and cicadas.
“We compared the spectrums of the sounds and evidently this common sound is very similar to the sound of a cicada,” Lt. Col. Juan Carlos Molina, a government official, said last week on Cuban television, according to the Associated Press.
These remarks were made during a half-hour, prime-time special called “Alleged Sonic Attacks.”
The narrator likewise cited unnamed “North American researchers” to argue some cicada and cricket noises can produce the same symptoms experienced by U.S. Embassy employees.
The broadcast looked into accusations by the administration of President Donald Trump that claimed the Cuban government orchestrated so-called “sonic attacks” against U.S. Embassy employees.
The Trump administration alleges that between late 2016 and early 2017, the Cuban government exposed U.S. Embassy staff to a sonic device that in turn “caused serious health problems and physical symptoms,” as reported by NPR at the start of September.
Later in September, the State Department ordered all nonessential diplomats and families to leave Cuba and issued a travel warning urging Americans to avoid traveling to the island nation.
“The decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement at the time. “We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The Cuban foreign ministry responded promptly by referring to the decision as “hasty,” and warning it “will affect bilateral relations,” according to CNN.
During the broadcast last week, the narrator seemed uninterested in humoring the Trump administration’s theory.
“The members of the U.S. delegation said they don’t have evidence that confirms that these reported attacks occurred, and brought up that there was no working theory about the cause of the health problems reported by their diplomats,” he argued.
Cuban officials have likewise accused the U.S. of slander and claimed the Trump administration has been unwilling to cooperate in its investigation of what happened.
Lt. Col. José Alazo, an official with Cuba’s interior ministry, dismissed the allegations altogether last week.
“It’s impossible,” he said, according to The Guardian. “We are talking about science fiction. From a technical point of view, that argument is unsustainable.”
It also appears the mainstream press in the United States has adopted this same opinion, with The New York Times running a report in early October calling into question the administration’s theory on the basis some “scientists doubt it.”
While the State Department has reportedly declined to comment about last week’s broadcast, it did issue a statement that said “the safety and wellbeing of American citizens is our top priority” and noting it’s “continuing” its investigation into the alleged attacks.
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